Willful disregard

Here we go again! You’ll recall My letter to the mayor, in which I relay my thoughts about why it’s such a bad idea to indulge in prayer of one religion before city council meetings. I also asked him if he represented all the residents of the city, or just those who shared his religion. I received no response.

The Niagara Falls Review posted, “Falls mayor apologizes over prayer at council swearing-in.” It seems that as part of the swearing-in ceremony of new city councillors earlier this week, the Mayor included a non-denominational prayer recited by Reverend Chris Kulig. There’s nothing like keeping religion out of city ceremonies like a Reverend reciting a prayer.

Just before the city ceased the practice of opening council meetings with prayers in 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada declared the reciting of prayers before public meetings infringes on people’s freedom of conscience and religion. Three years later the Mayor pulls this garbage.

Given his willful disregard in respecting other’s beliefs, I wrote him again.

I read the Niagara Falls Review article “Falls mayor apologizes over prayer at council swearing-in” online with great interest. You apologized, which I do appreciate. But then you’re quoted as saying, “I was pleased with the inaugural ceremony and proud of the event and the way it was put together,” which entirely nullifies the apology.

I’m at an utter loss to understand how you can not see that your including an observance of one faith makes it clear that you are going out of your way to exclude everyone who has other beliefs.

When this same issue came up over city council meeting prayer, I wrote you and asked if you really represent all residents of the city, or just those who share your faith. You didn’t deign to reply. If it was because I don’t share your faith, I’d really like to know.

So let’s clear the air. Please tell me, do you represent all the residents of Niagara Falls equally, or do you favour those of your faith? It’s a very simple question and I believe I am entitled to an answer since I am a resident.

Looking forward to hearing from you,

[Signature]

PS. Next time please don’t apologize for including prayer in a city ceremony. Simply don’t include prayer in a city ceremony in the first place. Simple!

Do I expect a reply? I really don’t, but I can’t fathom how a politician can really let this go. It’s so ridiculous.

I’ll keep you posted.

Lady Justice

This is Bruce MacKinnon’s editorial cartoon for September 29, 2018, as it appeared in Nova Scotia’s The Chronical Herald.

Despite being “just a cartoon,” it’s such a powerful and disturbing image.

I just hope the FBI manages to unearth some definitive information because I fear they won’t and Brett Kavanaugh will take a seat on the Supreme Court bench. The more moderate among us may find ourselves casting distrustful eyes on the Supreme Court for decades to come.


Hat tip: Jill Barber

Clueless

My Federal Minister of Parliament posted again on Facebook today. This one is incredibly tone-deaf, even by his standards:

Pro tip: If your sole citation for your point is 38 year-old legislation, you’re doing something very wrong.

When I was reading Twitter, I saw what it was all about. The Conservative leader tweeted about trade. Rob needed to be seen so he Tweeted too. He’s like the little kid at the back of the class frantically waving his arms to get some attention, not realizing how embarrassing it is.

I followed him on Twitter and Facebook because I want to know what he’s doing for his constituents. It seems that most of what he does is praise the Conservatives and bash the Liberals. The people he is supposed to represent only appear when he posts photo-ops or has conferences, the results of which are never posted.

Good work if you can get it.

Fragile Conservative

Politics and social media are a terrible mix. I wonder if it doesn’t at least partly explain why politics is increasingly polarized. Let me give you an example.

This morning I visited a Facebook group called the National Conservative News Network Canada. Despite its name, it’s not a news network in any sense. It’s merely a group inhabited by a bunch of people who hold strong opinions and don’t want to hear any others. I visited because of a particular graphic that forcefully told the reader that all flags in the country should immediately be flown at half-mast for sixteen days, one day for each of the Humbolt Broncos hockey team members killed on Friday in Saskatchewan.

As you might imagine, the suggestion created quite a discussion. One group felt that lowering the flag is best limited to when members of the Canadian Forces are killed on active duty. The group owner, who favours the flag-lowering for the hockey team members, tried to invalidate that position by pointing out that Prime Minister used his executive privilege to have the flag lowered for his “good pal” Gord Downing.

Until this point in the discussion, I had no real skin in the game. However, when a person championing an action for the respect of the dead, makes a mockery of the name of another person who has passed on, I had no choice but to jump in. That feeling only increased as there were three other instances of the group owner making reference to Gord Downing.

I replied, pointing out that given his respect for the dead, the least he could do is spell Gord Downie’s name correctly. He came back with a graphic of the Peace Tower flag schedule indicating it was lowered in honour of Gord Downie. I looked up and saw he had corrected his mistake, trying to pass of my comment as an error on my part. Facebook labeled his post as having been edited, and clicking the “Edited” indicator, he correct the spelling three minutes after I pointed out the error. In reply, I suggested that it was a simple error, and he should simply own it, rather than correcting it and pretending he made no mistake. Hell, it was likely an autocorrection error he missed. Be an adult and admit it!

Hours later I checked back and found that the group owner had banned me from the National Conservative News Network Canada. This banning also deleted all my comments and any replies.

So rather than a discussion area, the group owner has gathered around him people who think just as he does and parrot the same opinions. Anyone who raises a dissenting voice is summarily silenced. It’s a fragile ego indeed who can’t accept a spelling correction! Is it any wonder people can’t discuss politics or religion any more without things getting out of hand? These jokers have fashioned echo chambers where everyone allowed in agrees with them. How can they ever learn reasoned discourse?

But the real kicker? The image you see to the right is the profile image attached to the National Conservative News Network Canada Facebook page. They seemed to have missed the warning against having one’s own opinions, voicing them, or even having <gasp!> an original idea … never mind something as minor as pointing out a spelling error of significance.

The cognitive dissonance is strong in this one.

No more daylight saving time

I wrote my MPP a couple of days ago:

From: Rick Pali
To: Wayne Gates
Sent: Monday, March 12, 2018 6:01 PM
Subject: DST

Wayne, it’s time to ditch daylight saving time. How can we make this happen? The two time-changing events each year are simply not worth the benefits we get in exchange…

Rob Nicholson has made me accustomed to no response or having to fight to get one, so I was delighted to receive a reply today:

From: Wayne Gates
To: Rick Pali
Date: March 14, 2018 at 5:45:30 PM EDT
Subject: RE: DST

Hi Rick,

Thank you so much for reaching out to MPP Gates on this important issue, and for sharing your concerns with MPP Gates. He had an opportunity to review your email, and has added your concerns to his notes on this file.

As you may know., NDP MLA Thomas Dang in Alberta recently introduced a Private Members’ Bill to abolish Daylight Saving Time in Alberta. He is currently leading a public consultation on this bill across the province. He has received widespread support from families with young children and members of the agricultural sector. I can assure you we will continue to follow this issue.

Kindest regards,

Shannon Mitchell
Constituency Assistant – Casework Manager
Wayne Gates MPP (Niagara Falls, Niagara-on-the-Lake and Fort Erie)
Critic for Transportation

I’m glad I wrote because I knew nothing of Thomas Dang and his Private Members’ Bill. He ran a survey1 and 82% of the 26,000 recipients wanted daylight savings time to end. I absolutely believe that. I’m not sure I know anyone who would be sad to see it go. The most ridiculous issue2 people have raised is the start time of hockey games. Save us from the pox of sports.

The only possible issue is some areas considering dumping the change like the idea of staying on DST all year rather than maintaining standard time. In effect, they’re moving one time zone to the west. If most or all states, provinces, and territories stop changing from standard time to DST and back every year, those areas staying on saving time are going to mess things up. I suspect they’ll also revert to standard time eventually.

I hope the results of the public consultation are positive and Alberta makes the change. Then I hope we in Ontario quickly follow.


  1. Michelle Bellefontaine, “‘We need more time’: Alberta bill to end daylight saving time on hold,” CBC News. April 3, 2017
  2. Daniel Stilwell, “Alberta Daylight Saving Time bill to get further study,” Global News. April 5, 2017